Scandinavian Star is a name most people from Norway and Denmark have heard about. But many don't know what it is and why 'everyone' has heard of it. Let me enlighten you:

Scandinavian was a Passenger Liner which sailed between Oslo in Norway, and Fredrikshavn in Denmark.
On the night of April 7, 1990 a tragic accident occurred:
It caught fire. The ship was bought only two days before, and was put into traffic. The ship was not prepared for public travel yet. Several cabins were not cleaned. The crew was exhausted. Knowledge of the ship, her emergency equipment, the emergency plan and so on was not adequate.

The first fire started 2 AM the ship had reached open water. It occurred in a pile of bedclothes and carpets in a corridor on the port side. The fire was discovered by some passengers and later extinguished.
The second fire did also start in a corridor, and there is reason to belive that this fire also started in a pile of carpets and bedclothes.

This fire spread rapidly and reached the stairs on the starboard side. From there it reached another deck. Thick smoke were after short time covering two decks.
The automatic firedoors were activated as soon as the captain had gotten the message, but since no fire buttons had been pressed, the doors remained open.

Evacuation of the ship and the conditions at the lifeboats were not in accordance with existing instructions. According to the Board of Accident Investigation report the crew gave the impression that there was a lack of overall command at all stages from the discovery of the fire until the ship was abandoned.
The "mayday" signal was broadcast from Scandinavian Star at 02.24 AM, but the ship's position was incorrectly given. The position given at first told rescue operations that the ship was in Norwegian territory, which was wrong. The correct position turned out to be on Swedish territory, 11 nautical miles west of Väderöarna.
Many helicopters, coastguard vessels, and pilot-boats scrambled to get to the location. At 02.50 AM the first two boats reached "Scandinavian Star", and during the next half-hour more ships came to help. "Scandinavian Star" was now burning heavily astern.
At 03.23 AM the captain announced that he was in a lifeboat headed for one of the ships and that everybody, passengers as well as crew, had left the disabled vessel.

After two and a half hour smoke divers arrived. Five survivors were found on the ship, thereof two of them survived because the smoke divers brought them to safety.

Of the 324 persons who were saved, only around 30 were injured. But tragically, 159 people died. Most of them from Norway, while some from Sweden and some from Denmark.

The investigation of the disaster found evidence leading to the conclusion that arson was involved, as part of an insurance fraud. Many years later a document, stating that the sale of the ship was fake, was found. The document proved that "Scandinavian Star" was sold by SeaEscape Cruise Ldt., Miami, Florida, to the Danish K/S Scandinavian Star for 126.560.640 Danish Kroner (Approximately 12 million pounds) about one month AFTER the accident.

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